This article was written by W. S. Berger for The Oracle and was so interesting I had to share. Aaron “Pop” Steinman carved all the figures and then hooked them up some how so that he could operate them from foot pedals.
Very ingenious and just shows the lengths that some will go to be both creative and unique.
Left to right: “Alexander,” “Pop” Steinman, “Ma” Steinman, “Charles Henry,” “Stunie” and “Elmer.”
“Alexander’s Dummy Band” Is Best Dummy Band In The Land
By W. S. Berger
“Come on and hear-come on and hear – Alexander’s Dummy Band.”
That’s what Brother Aaron “Pop” Steinman, 3851 West King Edward Avenue, Vancouver, B. C., is singing these days. He is the creator of “Alexander” and the, musical trio pictured above. A ventriloquist of over thirty years’ standing, he operates all four figures, which he carved himself.
He supplies voices for the whole gang, and he and his wife manipulate most of the actions by means of hidden foot controls.
“Alexander” is a mechanical marvel. He can put his hat on his head at any desired angle and then take it off; he stands or sits without being supported; he can write; he can hold a telephone receiver and ‘talk” (while “Pop” does the vent voice for the telephone “bit”) ; he can play a mandolin as well as lead the band; he can hold a bottle in his left hand while removing the cork with his right, and then pour out a drink; he can stand on his head or do the “splits,” as well as stand on one leg; he can put a cigar in his mouth, remove it, flick the ashes and then put the cigar back in his mouth ; he can take a handkerchief from his pocket and wipe his nose ; he salutes soldiers ; and, finally, he can heave things at hecklers!
The figures in the band not only “play” their instruments, the music being supplied by record, but they stand up and “sing” (with the vocals supplied by the ventriloquist). They are 30 inches tall, while “Alexander” stands 42 inches in height. They perform on a stage 32 inches high, 24 inches wide and 5 feet long. “Pop” manipulates “Alexander” with his right hand and “Charles Henry” with his left, while the remaining two are controlled with foot push buttons. The detailed process is a “trade secret.” Not satisfied with this achievement, “Pop” is now working on another “boy” who will be able to do things the other ones can’t do.
Brother Steinman became a member of IBV after seeing Brother Clifford Guest, the great Australian vent, in a performance in Vancouver, and talking to him after the show. This method of getting new members is recommended to all our brothers. “Pop” Steinman, we are indeed proud to have an inventor like you and a go-getter like Clifford Guest in our fraternity.
Lee Dunn Update
I just wanted to let everyone know that Lee is doing very good and if all goes well, he’ll be going home soon. I’ll keep you updated.
Dan Willinger is a ventriloquism enthusiast and ventriloquist figure collector. He has been collecting for over 25 years. His collection of ventriloquist figures now numbers over 100 figures of which there are over 50 Frank Marshall figures. Because of his love for the art of ventriloquism, Mr. Willinger created the website Ventriloquist Central. For more information about the website, go to: http://www.ventriloquistcentral.com
Copyright 2009 by Dan Willinger
NOTE: You may use this blog article provided you run it with the bio box intact. Please email a copy of your publication with the blog article in it to: email@example.com
Herr Louie the Weasle and his Hungry Five Band are included in Marshall’s catalog as using Marshall figures probably like Steinman’s setup but earlier.
Enjoyed reading your article about Aaron Steinman.
Uncle Aaron was my father’s còusin. I remember him trying to give me lessons from his room at the walper hotel in kitchener ontario.
Alexander, as in the dummy band picture, was in my family’s possession for many years. Unfortunately, it was stolen in the 80’s , and never been seen since.
Hope this info is of some interest to u.
Perhaps we should post a dummy alert
By for now